Tuesday, March 17, 2015
Registration closes and Gauteng school is ready for action
Registration has closed for the 2015 edition of the Under-19 Kay Motsepe Schools Cup, sponsored by Sanlam, the Motsepe Foundation and the Ubuntu-Botho Trust, and schools that have registered will now start competing in their various clusters.
The Kay Motsepe Schools Cup has become the foremost youth talent identification tournament in soccer in the country and the role that schools attached to the development academies of professional clubs cannot be underestimated.
A case in point is Clapham High School of the Tshwane North District in Gauteng, which was one of the first schools to register this year and houses the school-going players who are in the Mamelodi Sundowns Youth Academy.
The 2015 under-19 team will comprise of seven of last year’s players that are still at the school and it will be bolstered by 5 new recruits and team manager, Ngwato Petje, explains that not all their players are associated with Mamelodi Sundowns.
Keamogetswe Ledwaba comes to the school from Benny’s Sport Academy in Limpopo. He plays for Edu Sport FC in the SAB League and, according to Petj he is star quality and is definitely someone to look out for during the Kay Motsepe Schools Cup this year.
Clapham are former winners of the competition, but they were knocked out at the provincial finals last year and are keen to make amends for that. They were one of the first schools to register for the 2015 tournament and are eagerly waiting for the cluster level games to begin.
The team will once again be coached by Mike Manzini. “Last year was the first time Mike coached the team and he did a good job with the team even though we ended up being knocked out of the tournament,” Petje said.
“He has obviously learnt a few things from last year and I believe that he has prepared the team better this time around to ensure positive results.”
Petje is looking forward to seeing how the new players fit in. “They are new to the schools and will be new to this tournament but luckily we still have 7 previous players that can share their experience with them, overall the team is doing well and they get good quality training.
Preparations are going well said Petje. “We have played 5 friendly games already and we obviously want the team to be familiar with each other and for them to see if there are any adjustments that they need to improve upon. The Mamelodi Sundowns Academy team will be playing in the final against University of Pretoria in the Multichoice Diski Challenge and that’s the basis of the team that will be participating in Kay Motsepe Schools Cup, along with the non-Academy players.”
Petje admits that it wasn’t easy to accept defeat last year as the Kay Motsepe Schools Cup is the biggest schools soccer tournament and every school wants to be successful in it. “The loss showed us that we need to work twice as hard as other teams in order for us to win again. The tournament is getting tougher and tougher and becoming more and more competitive each year.”
Gauteng is by far the most competitive province, Petje said, and they are not under-estimating any team they will meet.
“Of course our main rivals are the defending champions, Holy Trinity. We have to take back the title from them and should we meet up with them it won’t be an easy match. Neither team will go down without a fight,” he said
As 2013 champions, Clapham won R1 million in funding for the school and they are in the process using the funds to build two new classrooms and a life skills centre. They are awaiting the Department of Education approval of the site they have identified.